Category Archives: Show Recap-LA

twenty one pilots at The Troubadour (2/20/13)

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I saw twenty one pilots last night at The Troubadour. Today, Amanda asked me today how the evening went. I kind of exploded the following reply. She suggested I stick it up here as a show review. I don’t have time to gussy it up, but here it is; my initial and somewhat effusive gut reaction to the seeing twenty one pilots at The Troubadour:

OMG, last night. Last night. Sigh. It was amazing. Twenty one pilots is my new favorite. They put on the most thrilling live show. Plus, I am obsessed with their music. I can’t wait to see them again at SXSW. They are my top pick right now of bands to see.

Anyway, The plan was to catch 1.5 of the openers at The Troubadour, then run over to The Roxy to see Zookeeper’s Palace (my new friends from Philly), then come back to The Troub and catch the end of twenty one pilots set. However, I got to the Troubadour and I got a great spot right up front. The first act, Echosmith was very impressive for their youth. The second band, New Politics, was from Denmark and they were fantastic. The singer did some breakdancing. They had a ton of energy and great songs. Another band we’ll be seeing at SXSW. 🙂 I would have said they were the best band I’ve seen in awhile, until twenty one pilots blew them out of the water. But I was enjoying New Politics so much I couldn’t leave and I had such a sweet spot up front…I decided somewhat regrettably not to dash off to The Roxy.

It was the right decision. Twenty one pilots came out with a BLAM! It’s just two guys, but they both come out onto a fog-filled stage wearing these skeleton suits. It’s kinda creepy. Then drummer starts his beating and the singer gets on top of a piano (a real piano, not some keyboard or pseudo-piano). Suddenly BOOM! the singer leaps off the piano and starts into this massive pounding rap. Then 30seconds later, he’s at the piano playing a kind of skippy ballad. The skeleton suits only lasted a song, but the drama was enough to pull anyone in. The rest of the set kept up the energy. The guys were all over the place. The drummer did an awesome backflip off the piano. The singer scaled the walls and somehow ended up in the balcony. Of course, there was a drumming circle thing. They also put on these facemasks for one of the more mellow song. They created this atmosphere that was so fitting for their music which is really all about a struggle to overcome something and how everyone is miserable and such but we have to celebrate life…definitely fit my mood. But the best thing about twenty one pilots and their music is the versatility. You know how I love the unexpected in music and it doesn’t get more unexpected then their music. They go from rap to piano to keytar to synths to ukulele…sometimes all in the course of one song. The singer sounds like Eminem, but he also sounds like Marcus Mumford. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect show and I am now craving more.

 

I took some pictures that I posted up on LMN’s facebook page.

Needless to say, twenty one pilots are my new band love. I highly recommend checking them out, especially if they are playing a show near you.

~ Kristen

NEEDTOBREATHE at Club Nokia- 3/20

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Last night Club Nokia was enchanted by Southern rockers, NEEDTOBREATHE. It was one of those shows that was so good you found yourself coming home and immediately looking at the band’s tour calendar and pricing flights. I promised my friends some pictures so check out LMN’s facebook page for my album. Bonus: a clip from the encore song of “Slumber” which the band did acoustic and without microphones.

Yeah, last night was just a little amazing…

Opening for NEEDTOBREATHE was one of my favorites, Ben Rector. It was a winning combination. If you don’t know Ben, be sure to check him out. Here’s a cover he did last night:

photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.294704200599150.65907.192625794140325&type=3

~ Kristen

Friday the 13th’s Creepshow at The Hotel Cafe

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One of my favorite musical events is the semi-annual Creepshow. Pianist extraordinaire, Ely Rise or Ely the Creep as he is affectionately known, gathers together his very talented musician friends for a night of drinking and music at The Hotel Cafe. Ely knows good music and The Creepshow is always an opportunity to discover amazing talent. Over the last couple of years, I have been introduced to artists like Alisan Porter, Elle King, Sarah Hudson, and Esthero and gotten to see favorite acts like Hoobastank, Daniel Bedingfield, and Ferras.  What I love most about the event is that it is a celebration of music. Everyone there is so happy to be on the stage sharing what the love with an audience eager to hear what they have to offer.

The 10th Creepshow took place last Friday (the 13th) and living up to the standard, was an evening full of discovering new artists, seeing a couple of favorites, and generally being blown away by the talent that took the stage. Highlights for me included hearing some new songs from Ferras (especially his duet with Sarah Hudson) and sampling promising new voices like Dana Williams, Nikki Leonti (of Nikki & Rich), and southern sounding rocker Josh Bartholomew. Plus, it wouldn’t be a Creepshow without at least one surprise guest and having Josh Hoge take the stage might have been the most pleasant surprise of them all!

Below are some pictures. Scroll over the pics to get more stories from the fantastic evening of music.

~ Kristen

HoHotel Cafe Holiday Benefit Show- Night 2 Recap

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The annual Hohotel Cafe holiday benefit show is always one of my favorite events of the year. Hotel Cafe artists come together to play a mix of seasonal tunes and originals in a rapid-fire manner, each taking the stage for only a song or two, playing solo or inviting up friends to fill out a make-shift band. The two day event featured the likes of Cary Brothers, Butch Walker, Priscilla Ahn, Meiko, Joe Purdy, Laura Jansen and SO many more. This year, I was only able to make one of the two days, but the night will go down as one of the best evenings of music I experienced all year.  It was one stellar act after another with many fun surprises and special guests. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. Over and over again. By the end of the evening, even before Butch invited his friend Alecia Moore (AKA Pink) to the stage, I was so overwhelmed, my continuously blown mind seemed to be leaking out of my eyes. Seriously, the beauty and magic of the music had moved me to tears.
Going into detail on the evening would take a book, so here are some pictures. Put your cursor over the pic to more details or fun stories:

HoHotel Cafe Holiday Benefit Show- Night 2 Recap

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The annual Hohotel Cafe holiday benefit show is always one of my favorite events of the year. Hotel Cafe artists come together to play a mix of seasonal tunes and originals in a rapid-fire manner, each taking the stage for only a song or two, playing solo or inviting up friends to fill out a make-shift band. The two day event featured the likes of Cary Brothers, Butch Walker, Priscilla Ahn, Meiko, Joe Purdy, Laura Jansen and SO many more. This year, I was only able to make one of the two days, but the night will go down as one of the best evenings of music I experienced all year.  It was one stellar act after another with many fun surprises and special guests. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. Over and over again. By the end of the evening, even before Butch invited his friend Alecia Moore (AKA Pink) to the stage, I was so overwhelmed, my continuously blown mind seemed to be leaking out of my eyes. Seriously, the beauty and magic of the music had moved me to tears.

Going into detail on the evening would take a book, so here are some pictures. Put your cursor over the pic to more details or fun stories:

1 night. 4 venues. 7 bands: A Tale of a Music Enthusiast

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On any given night in Los Angeles there will be a great band playing somewhere. I will go, enjoy the music, chat with friends and call it an evening. Sometimes, the gods of music seem to get angry with me and book too many amazing musical events on the same evening, thus forcing me to make somewhat agonizing decisions that, more often than I care to admit, leave me so paralyzed I don’t venture out at all. Monday night I choose to defy those gods as I successfully completed the near impossible feat: Hit up 4 venues in one evening. Here is my story.

It all started with one of my favorite hometown bands, Scarlet Grey. Even since I helped out on their music video for “The Sky & I,” seeing this band has been a bit like a family reunion. The boys of Scarlet Grey are taking off for London for a while and booked their last LA show for Monday August 22nd at The Troubadour.  In my calendar it went with indelible black ink.

Soon after, I was incredibly pleased to see that one of my favorite Nashville-based artists, Ben Rector, had booked a gig at my favorite LA venue, The Hotel Cafe. Ben doesn’t come to LA that often, so this was not something I wanted to miss. I went to ink it in the calendar and was dismayed when I saw the date already filled. Fortunately Ben played at 8pm and Scarlet Grey at 9:45 so I could catch both.. Excellent! A full and exciting evening planned with two great acts.

Things started to get a wee bit complicated when I met Bay, a musician in the band Some Hear Explosions, outside The Viper Room after The Veronicas show.  Bay handed me a CD sampler and spoke of this magical Some Hear Explosions show taking place at The Viper Room. He painted such an enticing picture, I was excited…until I asked him when said show was to occur. Monday August 22nd. Why Monday is often the most convoluted day of the week show-wise is beyond me. It’s MONDAY! Anyway, after listening to said sampler and cursing the goodness of it, I penciled in the 11:15 SHE set thinking that The Viper usually runs late anyway, so it was entirely possible to make it after The Troubadour…the venues are fairly close together.

Finally, during SSMF, a friend of mine pointed out two additional bands also playing on Monday. Chappo, a Brooklyn-based band I had heard good things about, was playing a set at The Satellite and The Constellations were going to be at The Bootleg. I really wanted to see Chappo because I juuuust missed them at SSMF, but their Satellite set fell right in the middle of my already inked in events, so I cast that thought aside. The Constellations, however, were playing at midnight. The Constellations are a band from Atlanta, Georgia. They make infrequent appearances in Los Angeles and I had been craving a live set since their CD came out last year.  I didn’t care about the excess driving, the time crunch, or the fact that I would be too tired to function the next day. I needed to be at that show! I penciled it in right after Some Hear Explosions.

Come Monday night, every little thing just seemed to be working out. Traffic was shockingly light and I arrived at The Hotel Cafe early. I immediately found street parking (something that doesn’t often happen for me) and I went into the venue to find the 7pm act, Korey Dane, still playing. I only caught 2.5 tunes, but I was impressed. Just as I was thinking, “I really need to see this guy again,” someone hands me a flier for BuskerFest, an event taking place this Saturday in Long  Beach at which Korey Dane is playing along with Everest , Jay Buchanan, and more.

Ben Rector took the stage shortly after 8pm and for the next 30min or so I was lost in his world. He played many of my favorites (“When a Heart Breaks,” “The Beat,” even “Hank”!) going back and forth from the guitar to the piano. It was only Ben’s second time playing in Los Angeles, but fans were out in full force, singing along, clapping unprovoked(!), and listening attentively to Ben’s stories.  There was Frisbee throwing, “Loving You Is Easy” got an improvised verse about grilled cheese, and throughout the whole set I could not stop smiling. My only complaint was that he didn’t play “Moving Backwards,” the song that first introduced me to Ben a couple of years ago. I still haven’t heard it performed live…and this bothers me greatly.

As soon as Ben Rector’s set was over, I left The Hotel Cafe to head to show number 2: Scarlet Grey at The Troubadour. On the way back to my car I passed by The Piano Bar. There was good tune-age coming from within, so I ducked in for a song. Turns out it was Waylon Payne, the guy who played Jerry Lee Lewis in the movie Walk the Line. It would have probably been a great night of music just hanging out at The Piano Bar (I spotted piano extraordinaire Brother Sal in the corner), but I couldn’t stay.

Heading to The Troubadour I was again amazed to find traffic to be light and free parking to be a piece of cake. I walked into the venue in time to hear my favorite Dead Country song, “Euro Thrash” and find where all my friends were hiding before the quickest set change ever occurred and suddenly Scarlet Grey were on the stage rocking out to “No Boys in the Ballroom” and “Fancy Blood.” The band played quite a few new songs that gave me the impression that they are aiming to up the rock factor, adding longer musical interludes and shifting the audience dance from jumping up and down to head banging. The set was over way too quickly but the boys came back out to do an encore which included “The Sky & I” so I was quite pleased.

I was even more pleased to realize I had some time after the set to hang out with The Grey Family for a few minutes before taking off to show number 3. The Viper was easy to get to and for the third time that evening, I made it in time to catch a few songs from the previous band (in this case, The Mulhollands).  I was excited to see the cat walk had been brought out and I spent the time in between sets saying hello to some familiar faces in the room and recollecting my last Viper/cat walk experience (Semi Precious Weapons).

Some Hear Explosions started around 11:30. Bay wasn’t kidding when he said a lot of effort was going in to that night’s performance. Lights, video, sound effects in addition to the runway upped the level of intensity for the already energetic band. Some Hear Explosions played a couple songs I knew from the sampler with such panache, it was impossible not to get into it. It was difficult to disengage 20 minutes into the set, but the call of The Constellations was strong.

I arrived at The Bootleg just as Robert Francis was ending (thankfully things were running late). I found my peeps and we recounted stories of our evening’s adventures thus far. Between the three of us, we had gone to 6 different shows before convening at The Bootleg. I was starting to fade but then the set began and before I knew it, the music had taken over and I was a dancing machine! The Constellations proved to be as good if not better than I had anticipated. I love bands that really fill the stage (there are six of them…and only 1 guitarist) and lead singer, Elijah Jones, has a unique voice that sits somewhere between groovy rock and growling spoken word and can hit the most perfect maniacal laugh with impressive ease.  New Band Love!!

The Constellations played all the songs I wanted to hear (“Felicia,” “Setback,” “Step Right Up”) and the set had put me in such a good mood, I found myself lingering at the venue for some time after the music had ended. I just wanted to retain as much of that magical energy for as long as possible. I don’t think I want to tell you want time I finally got home that evening/morning. At the end of it all, I had seen two of my favorite acts, discovered a great new artist, added a new band to my local must see list, and fallen in love.  For a music enthusiast such as myself, this was not a bad way to spend an evening. 7 Bands. 4 Venues. 1 night. Not bad…not bad at all!

 

 

~ Kristen

 

 

New Band Loves: Maniac and Atomic Tom

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I can’t believe I almost didn’t go out last night. I was tired and still recovering from the whole Foo Fighters shindig on Tuesday. I had been meaning to see the band Maniac while they were playing LA, so I forced myself out the door. I had heard good things from various sources about Maniac, a group fronted by Shawn Harris (The Matches) and Jake Grigg (Something with Numbers) and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Maniac is a band that needs to be seen live. Their energy combined with their unique stage presence and catchy tunes will draw you in. The love they have for one another and for the music emanates from the stage and before you know it you realize that you feel better just for standing in front of them for a little while. Plus, they are just so much fun!!

To listen to songs off their Extended Play EP: http://maniacmania.com/extendedplay/

After Maniac’s set, I was convinced it couldn’t get any better, but I decided to stick around anyway to check out Atomic Tom, a band I’d never heard of from New York City. They started playing and I was immediately captivated. By the end of their second song I was in love. They had me dancing, singing, swaying, and drifting closer and closer to the stage with each opportunity.  They remind me a bit of Franz Ferdinand…if FF also rocked the ballads.

By the time they did their encore of “This Is How We Like to End”, I was smiling uncontrollably from ear to ear. These guys recently signed to a label and are getting more attention (deservedly so) so go see them now while you have a change to get them in a more intimate venue. They are also really nice gentleman, eager to meet and talk to every one of their fans.

Tour dates: http://www.facebook.com/atomictomband?v=app_10442206389

I’m seriously considering dropping my current plans and heading down to San Diego Saturday to catch them and Maniac again at The House of Blues. This is how I know I am hooked.

Have a listen and be sure to go catch them live if they come to a town near you!

You know the night is good when even the opener is a solid act. Playing before Maniac and Atomic Tom were LA locals, LoversDrugs. I’ve seen these guys before and they always put on a good show and I’d be remiss not to mention the role they played in my fantastic evening. LoversDrugs released an EP and are making a series of music videos for each of the songs. Here’s my favorite:

~ Kristen